How sales reps can transform from solution providers to trusted advisers

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The nature of buying has changed. Buyers don’t want to be sold to. Through the internet they have access to all the information they could want on brands, products and prices.

In this new environment, salespeople need to establish themselves as the source of information. They need to become thought leaders on social channels, becoming experts that buyers seek out.

“The key to becoming such an expert is to deliver a steady flow of expertise, insights, and relevant content that nurtures, teaches and influences throughout the buyer’s journey,” says Ryan Blakely, Dynamics Business Development Manager at Microsoft.

This could take the form of a blog, a LinkedIn series, an Instagram feed, a podcast or a newsletter. Companies could also branch out into events – hosting speakers, panels and networking events around issues.

“When done well, buyers see the sales rep as a partner and valuable asset to long-term success,” says Blakely.

By establishing your brand as a trusted source of information, you are positioned as a natural extension of the buyer’s research. If they are already coming to you for advice, you are already trusted and valued. It’s not a huge jump to a purchase.

“Today, no one buys from salespeople — they only buy from experts. And buyers are actively searching for thought leaders and experts daily,” says Colleen Francis, Sales Leader at Engaging Selling Solutions.

“… the focus is not on your company or what you sell, it is in offering something that is educational. Giving is more important than getting. Giving first leads to more opportunities over time.”

A good example is the blog run by Forager Funds Management. With just $192 million under management, the fund wouldn’t naturally draw the same amount of attention as its larger contemporaries. But prescient commentary has won it tens of thousands of hits, a loyal media following, and, as a result, a huge reputation.

“The more opportunities you create to be seen as a familiar, trusted expert who helps people solve their business problems, the more likely it is for you to get meetings with new buyers,’ says Francis.

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